Opening doors: promoting social inclusion through increased sports opportunities

2015-09-22T12:44:35Z (GMT) by Amanda Waring Carolynne Mason
Social inclusion remains high on the British government’s agenda despite considerable evolution in conceptualizations of the term. This essay re-examines assumptions underpinning the linkage between increased opportunity and greater levels of social inclusion with a particular focus on the role of sports facilities and sporting opportunities. It explores the role of sport in the promotion of social inclusion, drawing on data from a UK-wide, six-year evaluation of the Big Lottery Fund’s New Opportunities for PE and Sport programme (NOPES). The essay considers stakeholders’ views about the perceived value of the sports facilities funded through the NOPES programme in providing increased opportunities for active citizens to engage in and explores some of the ways in which increased participation has been achieved through seeking to overcome barriers to participation. Ultimately, the essay questions the widely held assumption that social inclusion will follow directly from increased opportunity for participation through increased sporting opportunity.